Top 10 female amateurs: No. 5 Moriya Jutanugarn

Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand hugs Japan's Ayako Uehara after the final round of LPGA Q-School. Both players earned their tour cards.

The amateur season roared in with talk of the Curtis Cup in Scotland, and died down with the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship in Turkey, which made patriotism a big part of 2012. But in terms of women’s amateur golf, 2012 also was the year of the Kiwi (read: Lydia Ko) and the last summer of the Jutanugarn sisters.

Golfweek will spend 10 days counting down the top amateur players of the past year. Who will be No. 1? Who else will make the list? Check back each day.

Find the entire series here.

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No. 5: Moriya Jutanugarn

R&A’s World Amateur Golf Ranking: N/A

2012 in review: Won the South Atlantic Amateur; won the Scott Robertson Memorial; runner-up at Women’s Western Amateur; runner-up at Canadian Women’s Amateur; advanced to quarterfinals at North & South Women’s Amateur; qualified for U.S. Women’s Open (cut)

Jutanugarn, 18, finished second to her sister Ariya, 17, in two major amateur events and one AJGA invitational in 2012. That’s frustrating by almost anyone’s standards, but the smiling Thai never showed that. Her solution was always to work harder and get better.

After finishing third in her first major amateur start of the year, the Harder Hall Invitational, Jutanugarn came back to win the next week at the South Atlantic Amateur, thanks in large part to middle rounds of 66-65 at the 72-hole tournament. Despite starts in junior, amateur and pro events all over the country, Jutanugarn showed incredible stamina from week to week. Perhaps the bigest disappointment of the summer was losing to Amy Anderson in the first round of match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. A year ago, Jutanugarn advanced to the championship match, where she lost to Danielle Kang.

After time off to work on her swing, Jutanugarn attacked the final stage of LPGA Q-School and finished as co-medalist with Rebecca Lee-Bentham. The most memorable quote from Jutanugarn upon realizing she had an LPGA card after 90 grueling holes of golf?

“It’s real.”

While one goal was realized, Jutanugarn came to terms with the fact that she “peaked” too early that week with a second-round 66. It’s a personal goal of hers to shoot a lower score with each passing day of a tournament, but she couldn’t make it happen at LPGA International. She didn’t need to.

An LPGA career awaits.

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